LAKE COUNTY, Fla. — Months after anyone had seen or heard from Michael Shaver, his wife told her new boyfriend that Shaver wasn’t missing and that “something bad had happened,” according to a probable cause affidavit released Thursday.
“'It’s not that he’s missing. He’s no longer walking this Earth,'” Laurie Shaver’s boyfriend, Travis Filmer, told investigators she’d told him after they’d started dating in 2016. He said she also told him there was a body on her property.
On Thursday, two years after Michael’s body was found buried beneath a concrete slab in the backyard of the Lake County home Laurie and Michael had shared, Laurie was arrested at her home in Okahumpka and charged with second-degree homicide (domestic violence) and accessory after the fact to second-degree homicide. She is being held with no bond.
“She has been our sole suspect from the beginning, and she remains our sole suspect today," Lt. John Herrell with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.
Laurie’s arrest came nearly five years after anyone had seen or heard from her late husband.
Deputies said Michael was last seen Nov. 7, 2015. He wasn’t reported missing until February 2018 after a friend requested a well-being check at the couple’s home on Sandy Pines Road.
When deputies first arrived to the home for the well-being check, Shaver said she hadn’t heard from Michael since 2015 and allowed investigators to search the home. Deputies said she was cooperative at first, but she then told them they would have to speak to her attorney. In 2018, investigators identified her as a person of interest in the case.
Records show Laurie and Michael were involved in a domestic dispute in 2014. Deputies said Laurie Shaver struck Michael Shaver with a gun, but he was arrested because it was believed he pulled out the weapon.
Former coworkers showed investigators text messages where Michael said, “she wants my life insurance,” referring to Laurie. When the coworker responded “she’s gotta kill ya first,” Michael responded, “she tried to yesterday I’m sure.”
Coworkers told investigators Michael also showed up to work three or four months before his disappearance with several bruises on his face, chest and arms. Michael said Laurie “got irate and blew up about something and began punching him.”
Between 2015 and 2018, according to the probable cause affidavit, deputies said Laurie pretended to be Michael on social media telling family and friends to leave him alone, and that he’d left to start a new life in Georgia. They said she also drained his bank account and sold off his tools and firearms.
Deputies said her last post posing as Michael on social media was in January 2018, two months before deputies found his body buried on their five-acre property.
“Laurie claimed to have seen and talked to Michael and assumed his identity on Facebook, Facebook Messenger and text in order to convince family and friends he was still alive, a ruse which did not benefit her in any way other than prolonging the discovery of his homicide,” investigators wrote in the affidavit.
Michael’s body was positively identified through DNA in June 2018.
Investigators said that when they dug up Michael’s body, they deemed that he’d been dead for several months to several years before its discovery. Investigators said they believe he was killed between Nov. 7, 2015, the last day he was seen, and Nov. 10, 2015, the first day he did not show up for work.
From Nov. 7, 2015 to the time Michael’s body was found, investigators said Laurie told friends and family that Michael was stalking her and that she’d been getting child support from him, but that he was now in jail for nonpayment. She said he was everywhere from Georgia to New York or California.
Within a year after Michael’s disappearance, despite no divorce papers being filed, neighbors said Laurie married her boyfriend near the concrete plot where Micheal’s body was buried. Investigators said the new couple’s initials were etched in the concrete above exact spot where the body was found.
“We were very upfront early on that this was going to be a long process,” Lt. John Herrell with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said. “But I can tell you that the detectives really took this case to heart. They never lost heart. And it was very important to them to bring closure to Mr. Shaver’s family and friends, obviously, who love him and who have been wondering all along what has happened to him.”
Shaver will appear before a judge Friday.